B.A. in Biological Science Areas of Study

The Bachelor of Arts in Science (5-12, Biological Science) is a competency-based degree program that prepares students to be licensed as biology teachers in grades 5-12. All work in this degree program is online with the exception of the Demonstration Teaching and in-classroom field experience components. The program consists of work in General Education, Teacher Education Foundations and Diversity, General Science and Advanced Biology Content, Science Education, Pre- Clinical Experiences and Demonstration Teaching.

Teacher Education Foundations

Foundational Perspectives of Education
This course provides an introduction to the historical, legal, and philosophical foundations of education. Current educational trends, reform movements, major federal and state laws, legal and ethical responsibilities, and an overview of standards-based curriculum are the focus of the course. The course of study presents a discussion of changes and challenges in contemporary education. It covers the diversity found in American schools, introduces emerging educational technology trends, and provides an overview of contemporary topics in education.

Classroom Management, Engagement, and Motivation
Students will learn the foundations for effective classroom management as well as strategies for creating a safe, positive learning environment for all learners. Students will be introduced to systems that promote student self-awareness, self-management, self-efficacy, and self-esteem.

Educational Assessment
Educational Assessment assists students in making appropriate data-driven instructional decisions by exploring key concepts relevant to the administration, scoring, and interpretation of classroom assessments. Topics include ethical assessment practices, designing assessments, aligning assessments, and utilizing technology for assessment.

General Education

Intermediate Algebra
This course provides an introduction of algebraic concepts and the development of the essential groundwork for College Algebra. Topics include: A review of basic mathematical skills, the real number system, algebraic expressions, linear equations, graphing, exponents and polynomials

English Composition I
This course introduces learners to the types of writing and thinking that is valued in college and beyond. Students will practice writing in several genres and several media, with emphasis placed on writing and revising academic arguments. The course contains supporting media, articles, and excerpts to support a focus on one of five disciplinary threads (covering the topics of nursing, business, information technology, teaching, and literature, art, and culture) designed to engage students and welcome them into discussion about contemporary issues. The course supports peer review activities, though it may be completed asynchronously as well. Instruction and exercises in grammar, mechanics, research documentation, and style are paired with each module so that writers can practice these skills as necessary. This course includes full access to the MindEdge Writing Pad to support student writing and coaching sessions.

Introduction to Biology
This course is a foundational introduction to the biological sciences. The overarching theories of life from biological research are explored as well as the fundamental concepts and principles of the study of living organisms and their interaction with the environment. Key concepts include how living organisms use and produce energy; how life grows, develops, and reproduces; how life responds to the environment to maintain internal stability; and how life evolves and adapts to the environment.

College Algebra
This course supports the assessment for College Algebra with Hawkes Learning. College Algebra provides a detailed exploration into basic algebraic concepts and functions and their use in describing, interpreting, and modeling real-world situations.

Integrated Physical Sciences
This course provides students with an overview of the basic principles and unifying ideas of the physical sciences: physics, chemistry, and Earth sciences. Course materials focus on scientific reasoning and practical and everyday applications of physical science concepts to help students integrate conceptual knowledge with practical skills.

Natural Science Lab
This course gives you an introduction to using the scientific method and engaging in scientific research to reach conclusions about the natural world. You will design and carry out an experiment to investigate a hypothesis by gathering quantitative data.

English Composition II
English Composition II introduces learners to research writing and thinking that are valued in college and beyond. The Composition II course at WGU should be seen as a foundational course designed to help undergraduate students build fundamental skills for ongoing development in writing and research. Students will complete an academic research paper.

Critical Thinking and Logic
Reasoning and Problem Solving helps students internalize a systematic process for exploring issues that takes them beyond an unexamined point of view and encourages them to become more self-aware thinkers by applying principles of problem identification and clarification, planning and information gathering, identifying assumptions and values, analysis and interpretation of information and data, reaching well-founded conclusions, and identifying the role of critical thinking in the disciplines and professions.

Introduction to Communication
This introductory communication course allows students to become familiar with the fundamental communication theories and practices necessary to engage in healthy professional and personal relationships. Students will survey human communication on multiple levels and critically apply the theoretical grounding of the course to interpersonal, intercultural, small group, and public presentational contexts. The course also encourages students to consider the influence of language, perception, culture, and media on their daily communicative interactions. In addition to theory, students will engage in the application of effective communication skills through systematically preparing and delivering an oral presentation. By practicing these fundamental skills in human communication, students become more competent communicators as they develop more flexible, useful, and discriminatory communicative practices in a variety of contexts.

Survey of United States History
This course presents a broad and thematic survey of U.S. history from European colonization to the mid-twentieth century. Students will explore how historical events and major themes in American history have affected a diverse population.

Introduction to Humanities
This introductory humanities course allows students to practice essential writing, communication, and critical thinking skills necessary to engage in civic and professional interactions as mature, informed adults. Whether through studying literature, visual and performing arts, or philosophy, all humanities courses stress the need to form reasoned, analytical, and articulate responses to cultural and creative works. Studying a wide variety of creative works allows students to more effectively enter the global community with a broad and enlightened perspective.

Survey of United States Constitution and Government
In Survey of United States Constitution and Government, you will examine the structure, institutions and principles of the American political system. The foundation of the United States government is the U.S. Constitution, and this course will introduce the concepts of (a) separation of powers, (b) checks and balances, (c) civil liberties and civil rights, and (d) federalism and republicanism.

By completing this course, you will have proven competency in the structures of government, your own role in the policymaking process, and the ways in which the Constitution and government has changed over time.

Mathematics Content

Probability and Statistics I
Probability and Statistics I covers the knowledge and skills necessary to apply basic probability, descriptive statistics, and statistical reasoning, and to use appropriate technology to model and solve real-life problems. It provides an introduction to the science of collecting, processing, analyzing, and interpreting data. Topics include creating and interpreting numerical summaries and visual displays of data; regression lines and correlation; evaluating sampling methods and their effect on possible conclusions; designing observational studies, controlled experiments, and surveys; and determining probabilities using simulations, diagrams, and probability rules. College Algebra is a prerequisite for this course.

Teacher Education Diversity

Fundamentals of Diversity, Inclusion, and Exceptional Learners
Students will learn the history of inclusion and develop practical strategies for modifying instruction, in accordance with legal expectations, to meet the needs of a diverse population of learners. This population includes learners with disabilities, gifted and talented learners, culturally diverse learners, and English language learners.

General Science Content

General Chemistry I
Chemistry is the study of matter. Everything you see and many of the things you don’t see are made up of atoms. By understanding these atoms and their interactions. chemists have been able to cure disease, travel to the moon, and feed a growing world. By understanding chemistry, you will find your own world expanded. You will find boiling water interesting and the back of the shampoo bottle fascinating.

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has published principles and standards that address important chemistry topics that should be covered through the K-12 curriculum. Many states have followed the NSTA’s lead and are increasingly requiring that these concepts be taught to the students throughout the course of their science education. A firm grasp of the concepts covered in this course will allow you to confidently teach this material when you enter the classroom.

General Chemistry Laboratory I
In this course students will attain a solid understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts and a reasonable ability to solve chemical problems. Topics include measurement, elements and compounds, properties of matter and energy, the periodic table and chemical nomenclature, quantities in chemistry, chemical reactions, the modern atomic theory, and the chemical bond. Laboratory work focuses on using effective laboratory techniques to examine the physical and chemical characteristics of matter.

General Chemistry II
Chemistry is the study of matter. Everything you see and many of the things you don’t see are made up of atoms. By understanding these atoms and their interactions. chemists have been able to cure disease, travel to the moon, and feed a growing world. By understanding chemistry, you will find your own world expanded. You will find boiling water interesting and the back of the shampoo bottle fascinating.

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has published principles and standards that address important chemistry topics that should be covered through the K-12 curriculum. Many states have followed the NSTA’s lead and are increasingly requiring that these concepts be taught to the students throughout the course of their science education. A firm grasp of the concepts covered in this course will allow you to confidently teach this material when you enter the classroom.

General Chemistry Laboratory II
In this course students will attain a solid understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts and a reasonable ability to solve chemical problems. Topics include the gaseous state, the solid and liquid states, aqueous solutions, acid-base models, oxidation-reduction reactions, reaction rates and equilibrium, nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Laboratory work focuses on using effective laboratory techniques to analyze chemical processes in real-world contexts.

Principles of Biology
In this course, key elements of biology, from the molecular level to ecosystems, are explored. Specifically, students are introduced to the macromolecules and cellular biology as well as genetics and the link to evolution. Students learn about plant and animal organismal biology, including how organisms interact with the environment. Additional important topics in ecology, such as population and community ecology and the effect of humans on the biosphere are also covered.

Education

Psychology for Educators
This course prepares candidates to meet the expectations of society and prepares future educators to support classroom practice with research-validated concepts. The course helps future educators to create a framework for refining teaching skills that are focused on the learner, through engaged inquiry of integrating theory, critical issues in psychology, classroom applications with diverse populations, assessment, educational technology, and reflective teaching.

Science Education

Science, Technology, and Society
Science, Technology, and Society explores the ways in which science influences and is influenced by society and technology. A humanistic and social endeavor, science serves the needs of ever-changing societies by providing methods for observing, questioning, discovering, and communicating information about the physical and natural world. This course prepares educators to explain the nature and history of science, the various applications of science, and the scientific and engineering processes used to conduct investigations, make decisions, and solve problems. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Science Teaching and Learning
This course focuses on how to teach science and on preparing preservice science educators to teach science in a way that is accurate, current and engaging. Topics include models for teaching science through inquiry, evaluation of alignment to standards, effective use of learning communities, formative assessment strategies, and safety responsibilities.

Biology Content

Advanced Biology
This course includes the study of four main topics of biological science, including cellular biology, heredity, interdependence of life, and ecology.

Evolution
Students will learn why evolution is the fundamental concept that underlies all life sciences and how it contributes to advances in medicine, public health and conservation. Course participants will gain a firm understanding of the basic mechanisms of evolution including the process of speciation --- and how these systems have given rise to the great diversity of life in the world today. They will also explore how new ideas, discoveries and technologies are modifying prior evolutionary concepts. Ultimately, the course will explain how evolution works and how we know what we know.

Biology: Content Knowledge
This comprehensive course examines a student’s conceptual understanding of a broad range of Biology topics. High School Biology teachers must help students make connections between isolated topics. For example, when studying hormones created by endocrine glands traveling through the circulatory system to maintain homeostasis – a student is connecting many Biology topics. This course starts with macromolecules that make up cellular components and continues with understanding the many cellular processes that allow life to exist. Connections are then made between genetics and evolution. Classification of organisms leads into plant and animal development that study the organ systems and their role in maintaining homeostasis. The course finishes by studying ecology and humans effects on the environment.

Preclinical Experiences

Introduction to Preclinical Experiences
Introduction to Preclinical Experiences engages students seeking a bachelor’s degree and initial teacher licensure in utilizing video observations to reflect on ways they will interact with students and manage their classrooms. Concepts include Classroom Environment and Management, Instructional Models and Strategies, Emotional Climate and Teacher Responsiveness, Standards and School Law, and Teaching Diverse and Exceptional Learners. The course also guides students through the Field Experience and Demonstration Teaching application processes. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Preclinical Experiences in Science
Preclinical Experiences in Science provides students the opportunity to observe and participate in a wide range of inclassroom teaching experiences in order to develop the skills and confidence necessary to be an effective teacher. Students will reflect on and document at least 60 hours of in-classroom observations. Prior to entering the classroom for the observations, students will be required to meet several requirements including a cleared background check, passing scores on the state or WGU required basic skills exam, a completed resume, philosophy of teaching, and professional photo.

Instructional Planning and Presentation

Introduction to Instructional Planning and Presentation
Students will develop a basic understanding of effective instructional principles and how to differentiate instruction in order to elicit powerful teaching in the classroom.

Effective Teaching Practices

Instructional Planning and Presentation in Science
Students will continue to build instructional planning skills with a focus on selecting appropriate materials for diverse learners, selecting age- and ability- appropriate strategies for the content areas, promoting critical thinking, and establishing both short- and long- term goals.

Demonstration Teaching

Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Science
The Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Science courses involve a series of classroom performance observations by the host teacher and clinical supervisor that develop comprehensive performance data about the teacher candidate’s skills.

Teacher Performance Assessment in Science
The Teacher Performance Assessment is a culmination of the wide variety of skills learned during your time in the Teachers College at WGU. In order to be a competent and independent classroom teacher, you will showcase a collection of your content, planning, instructional, and reflective skills in this professional assessment.

Professional Portfolio
You will create an online teaching portfolio that includes professional artifacts (e.g. resume and Philosophy of Teaching Statement) that demonstrate the skills you have acquired throughout your Demonstration Teaching experience.

Cohort Seminar
Cohort Seminar provides mentoring and supports teacher candidates during their demonstration teaching period by providing weekly collaboration and instruction related to the demonstration teaching experience. It facilitates their demonstration of competence in becoming reflective practitioners, adhering to ethical standards, practicing inclusion in a diverse classroom, exploring community resources, building collegial and collaborative relationships with teachers, and considering leadership and supervisory skills.

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